How to hang up a campsite this summer


If you are considering a camping trip this summer, some people will tell you that it is already too late. The most popular campgrounds open reservations four to six months in advance, and sites are quickly seized. This means that if you want to camp, say, at Rocky Mountain or Yellowstone in July, you had better make plans in January.

Add to that the fact that it was already difficult to catch coveted summer spots before the pandemic with the influx of new campers, and we have a shortage of campsites on our hands. The number of people who camped last year increased by 28 percent, with 7.9 million new participants in 2020, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. A report from RV Industry Association shows that sales of VR turned 43 percent from 2019 to 2020. And the global glamping market has reached $ 1.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $ 2.35 billion worldwide in 2021.

“There are absolutely more people camping,” says Jeremy Puglisi, author of the recent book Where should we camp next? and podcast co-host Campsite of the week. “But when people say there’s nowhere to camp, it means the most popular places to camp are booked on summer weekends. So yes, you can’t find a site in a Yosemite, but camping is still very possible. “

Puglisi recommends going mid-week, finding lesser-known or private campgrounds, or trying to find a first-come, first-served site that can’t be booked in advance. Take the example of New York State Parks. “Our campsites are in high demand, but there is still availability for 2021, especially on weekdays,” says Dan Keefe, Public Information Officer New York State Office of Parks and Recreation. “Weekends and holidays in the summer are booked quickly, but our smaller or less popular parks may have more availability during these high demand times.

Until recently, a limited number of private websites controlled bookings at the majority of campsites on public land in the United States, which meant that if you wanted to book a campsite in a state or national park, you had to sift through the calendars. at Reserve America or and hope of availability. But that is all about to change, thanks to a movement of new entrepreneurs pushing to open up government data on real-time campground availability as well as a flood of new tech-savvy startups working with private landlords to rent. from land to campers, such as Tentrr and Harvest Host.

This means that eventually, we will be able to book a campsite in the same way. Expedia allows us to book flights and hotel rooms. That day is coming. For now, you’ll need to get a little creative to find a campsite open in 2021, but here are a few sites to help you out.

Subscribe to cancellation alerts

(Photo: Courtesy of Campnab)

When people cancel camping reservations, those vacated places are often re-booked quickly. So unless you are constantly updating the availability calendar at the right time, it may be impossible to catch this site. It’s the driving force behind Campnab, which launched in 2017 and now analyzes booking calendars at over 8,000 campsites across Canada and the United States to look for cancellations. You pay a fee – starting at $ 10 – to receive a text message when the campsite of your choice has an opening on the dates you requested. The site recently added hard-to-obtain backcountry permits.

“The campsite has a supply problem more than anything, but we are seeing a lot of cancellations,” explains Eric Karjaluoto, co-founder of Campnab. “In places like Yosemite, a newly canceled spot will be reserved in less than a minute, so if you receive this text alert you must jump on it to secure that reservation.”

The website CampingPhotos—Which shows specific images of more than 2,000 campsites in national parks, state parks and on US Forest Service lands – also has a camping aid function which sends alerts by e-mail and SMS when a reserved campsite has an opening.

Find a campsite on private land

(Photo: Courtesy of Hipcamp)

Hipcamp adds more and more campsites on private land every month – all of a sudden michigan vineyard has a flower farm in oregon—And the site recently announced a Partnership with California State Parks to provide real-time data on campground availability at popular California state parks (check out our favorite Hipcamp site in each state here). Although you cannot book campsites in national parks through Hipcamp, it has a large collection of campsite near the entrances to the national park. The site will help you find beach camping, sites available tonight or this weekend, or camping within two hours of your location.

If you don’t have your own camping gear, Tentrr is a great option – you can opt for its fully equipped canvas tents on private grounds, which come with items like camping stoves and solar showers. The company now works with a growing number of state parks across the country. Plus, unlike many other campgrounds, you won’t be crowded with other campers – each site has its own expanse of wilderness. You can also search for sites near specific outdoor activities, such as swimming or mountain biking.

Other private land options include Harvest host, which offers RV camping at thousands of wineries, breweries and farms across the country. It requires an annual membership fee of $ 99, but camping is then free. Or book a treehouse, canvas tent, or small house on private land through GlampingHub.

Find backup options

(Photo: Courtesy of Dyrt)

If the campsite you want to go to is full, don’t worry. There are other places nearby that may still be available. The Dyrt is basically the technical version of the call-a-friend scenario. It has received reliable reviews from vetted insider campsites, featured campgrounds in every state, and filters such as scattered camping, dog friendly camping, or camping near hot springs. As of 2019, the site started allowing reservations at certain locations through its app or website.

Founded in 2014 by a couple of full-time Airstream travelers, Campendium features photos and reviews from campgrounds across the United States and you’ll also find crowd-sourced ratings on things like cell phone coverage, cleanliness, and noise. The site lists camping in state parks, national parks, national forests, private campgrounds, as well as popular and free scattered campsites. You can’t book a campsite here yet, but each review comes with links to the official booking sites.

Find camping in private campgrounds or RV parks via Campspot, a campground reservation software that collects availability data for thousands of places to camp. Or consult Outly, started by two aerospace engineers in Boulder, Colorado, in 2018, which extracts scans from sites such as the US Geological Survey, national fisheries and game agencies, and NASA to create precise points on easy-to-navigate maps . Search millions of acres of public land from scattered camping or established campgrounds, and filter based on nearby water, cell phone coverage, or proximity to bike paths.

If you plan to camp outside of the United States at some point, Campertunity lists campsites primarily on private land across Canada, while the Dutch startup Camping area has unique camping destinations in Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Let someone else book the campsite for you

(Photo: Courtesy pitch)

Equipment rental company Xscape Pod, in Portland, Ore., will ship loaned camping gear – ranging from tents to water filters and stoves – anywhere in the Lower 48. New this summer, it offers camping itineraries and personalized trip planning to locations in the United States. your outing, including booking off-radar campsites that you didn’t even know existed.

Ground, a new app launched in early May, aims to help people in the greater Chicago area find a campsite and even set up a camp with everything they need. Most campsites are in Wisconsin Kettle Moraine State Forest, less than two hours from Chicago. Campers get a campsite reserved for them, then show up to find a tent, sleeping bags, cooler, solar lantern, and firewood waiting for them (starting at $ 95 a night).

“When the campers are ready to go, they ask for ‘tent service’ and the Boy Scouts, as we call them, will come back to clean up,” says Emma Sheade, Founder and CEO of Pitch. “Once we have our first year under our belt, we hope to have a bigger footprint in the Midwest and then on the West Coast.”

Main photo: AscentXmedia / iStock

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